Job Shadow: Katie Phernetton, News Anchor at WQOW

Job Shadow-Allison Hinrichs

WQOW is one of Eau Claire’s lead broadcast television stations. We interviewed WQOW morning news anchor, Katie Phernetton for insight into what it is like to be a broadcast journalist.

“When I was younger I would pretend to be interviewing people,” says Phernetton, “there is a home video where I took my dad’s big camcorder, because this is 1997 and I would set it up in my back yard and I was pretending to interview NSYNC.” Ever since Phernetton was a child she has been interested in being in front of a camera and interviewing people. This has led Phernetton to becoming a news anchor.

Katie Phernetton

Phernetton allowed my colleague, Hailey Person and I to take a tour of WQOW’s station. As Phernetton performed her magic on screen, Person and I observed her behind the camera in awe. We were able to watch an entire 60-minute morning broadcast behind the scenes as well as visit the control room and meet with the director. After shadowing Phernetton and sitting down for a one on one interview my colleague and I couldn’t help but express how glamorous this job seemed, but we wanted to also learn the downsides of broadcast journalism. “The biggest struggle is social media and the whole narrative of fake news,” explains Phernetton, “This really hurts us as journalists.” Phernetton provides an example with the Milwaukee shooting, she explains how amazing it was for journalists to be able to be on the scene however in this era people want their news to be fast and accurate and sometimes journalists sacrifice accuracy for speed.

Phernetton’s experience is as follows:

  • Studied for 2 years at Winona State University
  • Transferred to the University of Green Bay
  • Majored in Communications with an emphasis in electronic media
  • Interned at WBAY as a sports intern and news intern
  • Worked at WLUK for 5 year as a future and live reporter
  • Started working at WQOW as a news anchor in Aug. 2018

With years of experience Phernetton concludes the interview with advice for future journalists, “don’t compare yourself to anyone else and follow your gut, if you want to cover a story do it. Fight for yourself to do that story.” Says Phernetton.

For questions or intern opportunities contact Katie Phernetton:

Email: kphernetton@wqow.com

Voice Memo:

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